In the last ten years governments around the globe launched huge campaigns against the tobacco industry and rightly so. Holding a cigarette in the United States became such a taboo; you might as well be holding a gun instead! Sugar has become the new tobacco killer and governments have done very little, if anything at all, to tackle this problem. Why?
When it comes to whisky, we like to keep things simple. Neat, on the rocks, or mixed with coke - that's how we know and love it. New York Magazine's food blog Grub Street echoed this recently when it described flavoured whisky as 'The Beginning of The End' and filed it under Desecrations. I mean, why try to fix something which isn't broken?
I was intrigued to hear that a hotel in the heart of Berkshire stocks over 800 Californian wines, some of which are from the owner Sir Peter Michael's winery in Knights Valley, Sonoma.
The menu at La Serre - written first in French, and advertising a large splash of Mediterranean flavour - offered up a tomato, goat's cheese and hazelnut starter. It was staggeringly good. So simple, but the tomatoes were bursting with sweetness. Someone here has their hands on a good supplier...
During my last contract I spent enough time hanging around the staff kitchen to know that these rice cakes things were an integral part of any girl about town's dieting regime. Ever since I have wondered "what is it about them that makes girls so miserable?"
I love this dish because it is so easy and very tasty. The great thing about using a pasta shape like Rigatoni is that it will hold the sauce well and has a lovely chewiness when cooked properly. You can make this dish in the same time as takes to cook the pasta so it really is delicious health fast food...
Peter and I talked about bees and the recent initiative at the farm to promote beekeeping. Peter also shared some of the dark, despicable secrets of the commercial bee-keeping industry where bees are literally exploited to death. None of these practices, it should be said, are the biodynamic way.
This market is currently dominated by chains that have made themselves into household names, Nando's and Wagamama for example, but this is not stopping independent restaurants getting on board and being successful.
I don't always think that organic is necessarily the most important thing to concern yourself with if you eat a diet that is made up of processed rubbish. I see people eat a lot of products labeled 'organic' ('gluten free' is another one) that are full of junk. Organic or not, it's still junk.
Honey butter. I predict you'll hear about this heavenly combination a lot in 2014. I was first alerted to the revelation when, after falling head over heels for the cornbread at The Lockhart (a dapper new joint in Marylebone), I asked the chef how it was made.
We fired up our frying pans at Food Tube HQ this week and challenged the whole family to come up with top toppings for Shrove Tuesday. And the gang did not let us down, whipping up a splendid batch of Pancake Day videos.
In my work with young children I'm often asked what you can do to keep kids interested and make cooking fun for them, the good news is it is possible! Therefore I thought it would only be right to share some tips with parents on how to get your kids into cooking and enjoying good fresh delicious food .
Now stop a moment and let's feast our eyes on the butcher's shop window. What do you see? Pig's head, pig's trotters, a rabbit or two? What about chickens and ox tongue? What could connect a customer to real food more than the efforts of the butcher boys?
I think the eternal optimist in me might be gently moving towards a half empty glass position. This is distressing as it seems to confirm that one has well and truly crossed over and landed well onto the wrong side of 40, with no way back...
This is a great way to use bresaola with pasta and also a good substitute for pancetta. The meatiness of the bresaola works really well with the bitterness of the radicchio. You could use a pasta like penne but tagliatelle is a bit more luxurious and holds the sauce really well.
Beer is still one of our most popular drinks, but in many people's eyes it lacks the sophistication and versatility of other beverages such as wine. In recent years, it's seriously fallen out of fashion, associated with either laddish binge-drinking culture or the cagoule-sporting CAMRA fans.